During all these years we have wondered why Nissan never brought the Patrol to this side of the pond. Well our prayers have been answered by Infiniti instead of Nissan.

Nissan Patrol has been crushing the Land Cruiser all over the globe except for this great nation where the SUV sales have been dominated by Toyota/Lexus, Cadillac and to some extent Land Rover.

According to Infiniti, sales of the outgoing QX are up 160 percent thus signaling the end of recession to the higher ups in the Nissan’s luxury division. This might be good news for Infiniti as it has taken a bold step by completely redoing the QX for 2011.

The bold redesign starts from the exterior that many are calling a rhino looking front. Personally we think it might be a little bold but it was necessary to bring the QX in line with the other Infiniti offerings. What we don’t like are the two semi-functional vents slapped on the fenders. There might have been a better way to channel that air to the intake than those goofy looking vents. Then again when was the last time that a complete redesign of any SUV a complete hit?

The interior, also redesigned, is a complete work of a genius. According to the folks at Infiniti, they were inspired by the interior of an executive jet. Once inside the cabin, we are willing to forget the vents and rhino front-end of this spacious SUV. Unlike the last generation Armada/Titan based QX, 2011 QX’s interior provides that luxurious look and feel like no other. While the competition such as Escalade provides leather covered items from a full size truck interior bin, Infiniti has gone all out in creating the interior of the QX. If you have been in the M, then the interior will not look much different to you. All the controls and buttons are in the right places and easily reachable. Wood accents flow throughout the cabin giving that luxury touch to the already luxurious QX. The 2nd row seats can collapse by the push of a button thus making access to the 3rd row a breeze. Even the 3rd row seats are electronically controlled which is now becoming a standard among the luxury brands.

Infiniti didn’t leave any technology behind when designing this new QX – Around View Monitor, Lane Departure System, Laser Guided Cruise control to name a few. Our favorite option was the Around View Monitor which is a great innovation. We took the QX to all different types of places to figure out a way to trick the system but we didn’t have any luck. This system really makes parking this tank a breeze under any circumstance.

Even though the new QX carries a 5.6 Liter V8, it is not the same one found in the outgoing 2010 QX. According to Infiniti, the new engine that makes 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque is actually more efficient with a 14mpg/20mpg city/highway rating. This new engine is coupled with a brand new 7-speed automatic transmission along with a revised four wheel drive system. During your average driving all of the engine’s power is channeled towards the rear wheels while it can also be locked into a 50-50 split. If you option your QX with the Deluxe Touring Package like our test vehicle then you can also enjoy the Hydraulic Body Motion Control System similar to the one in the Audi RS5. The main purpose behind this is to shift the fluid between the front or rear reservoirs to reduce roll and vibration.

The only issue we have apart from the front end is the availability of a Turbo Diesel variant. Nissan Patrol all over the world is famous for its Diesel powerplant and we are appalled that folks in the North America are still not able to experience that. We seriously hope our friends at Infiniti are really reading this and someday will bring the diesel variant to this side of the pond.

So what did we think of the 2011 Infiniti QX56? Well we truly enjoyed our week long stay with this new luxury SUV. We were amazed that this SUV even with the 4WD system is priced under 60K before adding any options. Our particular test vehicle was priced right at 70K which is still a bargain considering the amount of vehicle you are getting. In the world of Escalades, Range Rovers and LX570s, we think the new QX is a game changer. It’s a true luxury SUV that is priced lower than the competition while providing more options. We think it’s a win win situation!

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